Category Archives: quotes

“Aleph”, by Paulo Coelho

13573214What I got from Aleph, by Paulo Coelho wasn’t what I got from his other books. I don’t know if I’m Coelho’d out but I had a harder time with this one. I enjoyed it to the extent that it had the requisite amount of Coelho quotes that I love. He has the ability to synthesize certain experiences and philosophies down to one sentence. Sometimes with less that five words.

Overall I’m glad I read it, and I think I was going through something similar to Paulo when I picked up the book, so I’m happy that I was able to get through my own creative journey as I read about his spiritual one. I especially love the story about Chinese Bamboo. If you like Coelho, you will like Aleph. If you don’t, I would give another one of his books a read first. My absolute favourite is The Witch of Portobello and Eleven Minutes is also one that I recommend.

Here are my favourite lines from the book:

“It’s what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future.” – pg. 10

“If we seek something, that same thing is seeking us.” – pg. 46

“Expend your energies and you will remain young.” – pg.77 (I especially love this one. It makes me think that if we remain idle for too long, the potential energy we could have expelled being productive doesn’t just get wasted, but it rots inside us and thereby rotting our ability to act in a positive and productive manner.)

“Only mediocrity is sure of itself, so take risks and do what you really want to do.” – pg.83

“As always happens when we’re focused on what we want, things begin to slot perfectly into place.” – pg. 152

“Only the living die.” – pg.201 (I love this one as well, because I feel it implies that those who are not living to their potential are dead already.)

“Only two things can reveal life’s great secrets: suffering and love.” – pg.266 (I agree because when we experience these two things we are vulnerable to ourselves and the world and both suffering and love make us think about the deeper levels of life.)


RIP Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal passed away today. Others are able to eulogize him better than I but I will share with you two of my favourite quotes from GV.

“Write something, even if it’s just a suicide note. ”

“…style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn…” (AMAZING!)

Other quotes can be found at the Good Reads website.

Struggling Against Silence

“Writing is a struggle against silence.” – Carlos Fuentes

Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here’s a link to an essay entitled Self-Reliance, by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I found it captivating.

A couple highlights:

-“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.

-“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.

“Play safe and you are dead…”

“The only safe thing is to take a chance. Play safe and you are dead. Taking risks is the essence of good work, and the difference between the safe and bold can only be defined by yourself since no one else knows for what you are hoping when you embark on anything.” – Mike Nichols

I Love Writer’s Digest, “There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”

The most recent issue of Writer’s Digest features great advice specifically focusing on novelists and novel writing. I suggest you pick it up immediately. The quotation in the title is from Doris Lessing.

Some other great quotes:

“There is only one plot – things are not as they seem.” – Jim Thompson

“A book comes and says, ‘Write me.'” – Madeleine L’Engle

“I always start writing with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind.” – Patrick Dennis

“Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.” – Annie Dillard

WD: 90 Quotes About Writing

The awesome folks at Writer’s Digest compiled this list of “The 90 Secrets of Bestselling Authors”. Brian Klems also pared it down to his 7 “must reads”.

My favourites:

“Two questions form the foundation of all novels: ‘What if?’ and ‘What next?’ (A third question, ‘What now?’, is one the author asks himself every 10 minutes or so; but it’s more a cry than a question.) Every novel begins with the speculative question, What if ‘X’ happened? That’s how you start.” —Tom Clancy

“Don’t quit. It’s very easy to quit during the first 10 years. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” – Andre Dubus

“Writing is like being in love. You never get better at it or learn more about it. The day you think you do is the day you lose it. Robert Frost called his work a lover’s quarrel with the world. It’s ongoing. It has neither a beginning nor an end. You don’t have to worry about learning things. The fire of one’s art burns all the impurities from the vessel that contains it.”
—James Lee Burke Continue reading

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